Late one night, the Captain of one of these charted municipal naval vessels was awakened by his first mate who yelled, "Captain, there’s a Spanish galleon rapidly approaching." The captain jumped out of bed and raced to the deck. Once on deck, he scanned the sea with his telescope. Sure enough, there was a Spanish galleon with her guns readied and heading into port.
"Quick!" shouted the Captain to his new first mate. "Run down to my quarters and bring me my red silk shirt."
Within minutes, a battled ensued with the Spanish ship. Bullets and cannon balls flew everywhere and shrapnel filled the air. After several precarious minutes, the Spanish galleon broke off its attack, turned its sails and sailed out of the harbor. The crew of the privateer vessel turned toward their Captain and let out a mighty cheer.
The Captain replied, "Son, I am the leader of this municipal naval vessel and its crew. The taxpayers of this community pay us good money to guard their harbors. Had I have been hit by a stray bullet or struck by a piece of shrapnel during the battle, blood may have seeped out on my white shirt. If the crew had seen me bleeding, they may have lost their courage and will to fight. They may have given up and we could have easily lost this battle. However, if I were hit and started bleeding while wearing my red silk shirt, the men would have never known I was hit. They would have continued to fight with valor until their death."
A few days later, the first mate again ran to the Captain’s quarters and announced, "Captain, there is a French frigate headed towards the harbor. She’s is a big one, the biggest frigate I have ever seen. I think she aims to enter the port." The Captain ran to the deck and clearly saw the silhouette of the frigate on the horizon. It was indeed a big one, the biggest one the Captain had ever seen in his entire naval career. All of her 16 guns were loaded and fully manned. She was sailing straight for the harbor.